NASSAU COUNTY, FL – A 29-year-old deputy was shot twice during a traffic stop around 2:30 am Friday, and on Sunday afternoon, the Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced that the deputy has died.
Nassau County Deputy Joshua Moyers was rushed to the hospital after being shot in the head and back during a traffic stop. The shot in the head hit him just under his right eye.
A reward had been offered for the capture of the suspect, 35-year-old Patrick Rene McDowell. On Sunday, that reward was raised thanks to “generous donations” to $50,000.
The stop on a Chrysler minivan was initiated on Sandy Ford Road. It was later determined that the vehicle was stolen. There were two occupants, a male, and a female, and the male driver gave the officer a fake name.
After the shooting, Sheriff Leeper said, “The driver’s arm came out of the vehicle with a handgun and shot the deputy… As the deputy fell down, he [the driver] reached out and shot him in the back. And just prior to the arms of the railroad crossing coming down, he sped off, just before the guards came down he got through.”
The incident was caught on Deputy Moyers’ body cam.
Later, police found the abandoned suspect vehicle along with the female passenger, who had been hiding under a shed. She told police that she had told the suspect, who she identified to them as McDowell, that she didn’t want to be a part of the incident. She left and called 911.
Helicopters and K9s were called in to search for the suspect, and at some point, a K9 was shot. The dog is expected to survive, and a rifle was recovered from that scene.
We’ve had several people asking about tattoos… these are Patrick McDowell’s tattoos. Thank you for your help and support. Also including another shot of his face to keep that circulating.#findMcDowell pic.twitter.com/k8wtgmVPYm
— Nassau County SO (@NCSO_FL) September 26, 2021
MORE NEWS: Are We Supplicants Or Americans?
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, McDowell is on probation stemming from a forgery charge and is also on drug offender probation. McDowell has previous stolen firearm charges as well as giving a false name to a law enforcement officer. He has Marine Corp training as he served from 2005-2009, including a tour in Iraq, and has a history since that time of depression and PTSD.
McDowell is described as a white male, 6’1″, 180 pounds, balding brown hair, blue eyes, and wide holes in his ears. His tattoos include a reversed motto of the United States Marine Corps and a back tattoo that reads “DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR.”
He is a very well-trained shooter and participated in shooting competitions in 2014.
On Saturday, Sheriff Leeper said they believe McDowell is still in the area. “We found a flashlight and we believe we found his hat, so we think he’s in the area somewhere,” the Sheriff said.
“We’re going to find him eventually,” Leeper said. “We’re doing the best we can, making progress, moving slowly through that area.”